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Lens vs Brest preview : Lens host in-form Brest in battle for european places

Lens, clinging to the last European qualification spot in Ligue 1, will host a resurgent Brest side on Saturday night. The Blood and Gold have bounced back well from a four-match winless run that saw them drop out of Europe and lose ground in the league, with a convincing 3-0 victory at Lyon last time out. However, Franck Haise’s men are far from out of the woods in their quest for another season on the continental stage and will need to fight tooth and nail until the very end.

Lens will return to Stade Bollaert-Delelis without a win in four of their last five competitive outings here (1 draw, 3 losses). They have conceded before half-time in each of those defeats, so a strong start will be crucial against a Brest side who are second in the form table (9 wins, 4 draws).

Behind perennial league leaders PSG, Brest have become the form team in Ligue 1 with a 13-match unbeaten streak (9 wins, 4 draws). Their last two victories have seen them close the gap to the leaders to just nine points. It is an incredible turnaround for a team that has never qualified for Europe, let alone the Champions League, which they could be playing in for the first time in their history next season.

Brest were still playing in the second division in 2018/19, and it is coach Éric Roy who has masterminded this resurgence. However, a solitary win in six previous meetings against Lens (1 win, 3 draws, 2 losses) could be a cause for concern for the visitors. A lack of away wins in three of their last four away matches also adds to the sense of uncertainty for Brest (2 draws, 1 loss), although only Lorient have won more away games than Brest’s five heading into a league fixture this season (5 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses).

Players to watch: Florian Sotoca opened the scoring for Lens last time out and has now registered at least ten goal contributions in each of the last six seasons in the league (5 goals, 5 assists). For Brest, Pierre Lees-Melou has been in fine form of late, scoring his team’s only goal in three of their last four appearances.

Hot stat: Brest are unbeaten and average 2.69 points per game in the league when they score first this season (11 wins, 2 draws).

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